Aristotle’s Perception of Oedipus

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Aristotle’s Perception of Oedipus Sophocles's Oedipus Rex is probably the most famous tragedy ever written. Aristotle’s analysis of Sophocles’, Oedipus The King, can be considered a guideline for a true epic tragedy. In contrast to most of Aristotle’s work, Poetics contains little argument. Instead, it simply examines poetic technique as it is created in Aristotle’s time and as he understood it. The influence and longevity of Aristotle’s work verifies the value of his opinions. What we as modern readers must consider is the time period and the Greek Language of which the poem Oedipus The King, was created. In Aristotle’s Poetics he outlines what he considers to be necessary for an epic play to be a true tragedy. He also uses his Poetics to outline what he considers to be necessary for a character to possess to qualify for a tragedy. The four main qualities a character should possess are: A. No matter who they are they must be good. B. Propriety; any trait must be appropriate to the person in whom depicted. C. The character must be true to life. D. It must be consistent; or if inconsistent, at least consistently inconsistent. We can use these guidelines as we examine Oedipus The King to see if Oedipus meets the characteristics of a character in a tragedy. Oedipus is the king of Thebes, and at the start of the play he is unaware that he has murdered his father and slept with his mother. Oedipus is a good King; he is a kind king and considerate of the situation his people are in. In the opening scene of the play we see Oedipus trying to understand what is plaguing his people. “You can trust me. I am ready to help, I’ll do anything. I would be blind to misery / not to pity my people kneeling at my feet” (13-15). Oedipus keeps with his concerns for his people as he says later in the scene, “I pity you. I see-how could I fail to see / what
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